Conversation Starters about Smart Wearable Tech and Kids — for Families
Here are some conversation starters, based on our research, which you can use to start a dialogue with your child or teen about their e-wearable device or app. We’ve used the word “device" but you can just swap in what your child is using (e.g. Garmin or Apple watch, FitBit, Headspace for Kids app etc).
We’ve love to hear how your conversations go! Dr. Alissa Antle [firstname.lastname@example.org]
- In what ways do you think long-term use of your device might impact you? What ways are positive? What ways might be not so good?
- What about this device might make take up a lot of your attention and become addictive?
- Does your device allows you to set, modify and celebrate your own goals as they change over time or does it tell you what to do?
- If you use this kind of device over time, how do you think it might make you feel about yourself?
- How do you think the device can support you to develop into the kind of person you want to be?
- If you use this device over time, how might it help you to learn to control your behavior in ways you want?
- Do you think the information from your device know more about you that you do? How accurate do you think the data is?
- If you use this kind of device a lot over time, in what ways do you think it could change your behavior, which could eventually even change your brain or body over time?
Smart Wearable Design Cards for UX and Design Practitioners
We created the biotech design cards for practitioners creating smartwatch, fitbit and tracking apps and devices. There are six cards (marked #1) that describe six main ethical concerns related to smart wearables and children. There are matching cards (marked #2) that provide questions to consider during design and development.
The card set was created for our smart wearable-tangible youth workshop (see below). You can easily substitute your own design context where you see icons for inputs, displays, and processing algorithms (backs of card 2).
Printable version of biotech design cards.
We’ve love to hear how you use our cards! Dr. Alissa Antle [email@example.com]
The goal of this research project is to reach an understanding of the complex relations between ethics, social impact, and values related to the interactions between smart wearables (also called biowearables/e-wearables) and children. Children are increasingly becoming sensed, tracked, and augmented with smart technologies worn on their bodies (e.g. smart watches, Fitbits) that collect their location data and biodata. This data processed by AI algorithms and the results displayed to them on their devices — potentially negatively impact their sense of self, who they turn to for authority about themselves, and even their physiology. Therefore, in this project we explore the ethical and social implications of these emerging technologies.
The first phase of this project involved describing the potential ethical issues of smart wearables on children’s identity formation, the development of autonomy and agency, and what sources of information children turn to for authority about themselves. We then designed a framework in which to scaffold critical reflection on ethical issues in a making workshop for youth. We designed and developed two artifacts to help scaffold reflection: a breath-enabled wearable-tangible prototyping kit and a set of reflection design cards. We conducted multiple design iterations of these artifacts, which were designed for an in-person working at SFU Library’s Media and Maker Commons. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to pivot to an online format that was conducted with an Atlantic-Canada industry partner, Brilliant Labs. So far, our pilot study has shown promising results for our framework and wearable kit in an online distributed learning setting with youth.
Watch a video demo of our wearable-tangible prototyping kit version 2.0.
Alissa N. Antle, Project and Design Lead
Yumiko Murai, Project and Education Lead
Jeff Wilson, Brilliant Labs Executive Director
Natacha Vautour, Brilliant Labs Special Projects
Josh Keys, Brilliant Labs Innovation Engineer
Amanda Sherman, Purchasing Coordinator
Alex Kitson, Project and Design Co-Lead
Azadeh Adibi, Research Assistant
Yves Candau, Research Assistant
Katrien Jacobs, Research Assistant
Zoë Dao-Kroeker, Research Assistant
Alissa N. Antle, Keynote: Responsible interaction and game design. First International Animation and Digital Art Conference, Beijing, China, November 2022.
Alissa N. Antle, Invited Presenter, Participatory design ethics: Gen Z and biowearable electronic devices, Digital Democracies Institute Fall Speaker Series, Virtual, November 3, 2021. [video]
Alissa N. Antle, Invited Presenter, Designing on-body smart apps for youth well-being: What you need to know. 2021. Radical Research Summit, Virtual, September 28, 2021. [video]